LITTLE GIRLS IN A GARDEN
I remember when the twins Mitsuki and Miasa were about 4 years old, we were doing garden work and I handed each of them a rake. They looked at the huge objects in their hands the way I would look at a 50-quon Grongorch from the Gas Jungles of Saturn, then their eyes turned to me with a glint of a hint at what a bonehead I was, for assuming that one is born knowing how to use whatever a "rake" is.
This characteristic of mine doesn't seem to diminish as I get older. The other day I and the twins (now 10 years old) were out in the same garden and I gave each of them a packet of spinach seeds, showed them the new furrows I'd made, asked them to plant the seeds about 2 cm apart, said we could thin them later.
They started at opposite ends of the long rows and worked toward each other, reaching into their packets and carefully lifting out just one seed at a time, grasping it softly between two fingertips, like a tiny egg, then reaching down and placing it gently upon the soft cushion of soil - just there - like putting a tiny doll to bed, then patting it into place with the end of a loving finger, taking each seed at its true value, even tucking it in with a little earthy blanket, then extracting the next seed in all the same way and placing it, as precisely as possible by eye, about 2 cm down the row. The rows of seeds filled slowly, but perfectly.
With a row-and-a-half per twin, it took quite a while to get all the seeds arranged in comfort and sleeping softly, but M&M seemed to enjoy it, they were fully absorbed and far away, and I'll bet it was all worth it: that spinach will be the happiest, most nourishing, spiritually balanced and tastiest spinach I've ever grown.
But it was a rarer treasure to watch the twins in those natural moments, of the patient and caring kind that only free-range kids seem able to embody in this fast-forward world; all the more precious to the lucky elder nearby who has to go far back in his own museum to get hold of anything that real anymore, the way real used to be, that now seems to live mainly in fading recollection...
The pure breath of life, these little girls, who still wear the aura of the eternity whence they came, still live in a when where each new thing is impeccably new, infinite with possibilities and deserving of tenderest care without embarrassment, up to a point; I was a boy, myself...